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Re: One unclear point in the Vim license

Thomas -

> Bram Moolenaar <Bram@moolenaar.net> writes:
> > If this is so, then there are these possibilities:
> > 
> > - Nobody has a copy of this modified version.  Then it doesn't exist
> >   and the license doesn't apply.
> Wrong, the paragraph says that if you distribute a modified version,
> then you must provide the changes to the vim maintainer upon request
> forever. 

No, the license doesn't say forever.

> > - Someone still has a copy.  Then the person that made the changes
> >   should be able to retrieve it and send the maintainer a copy.
> If I make a change, and then distribute to John Doe, and then destroy
> my copy, and the vim maintainer comes to me, I am obliged to give him
> a copy of my changes.  John Doe may be long since unreachable.  It
> might be ten years later.  So once I ever distribute a modified
> version, I must personally keep a copy forever.  That makes it not
> DFSG-free. 

The easiest way to avoid this is to send me the changes before
destroying them.  Then you no longer need to keep a copy.  And yes, if
you distribute a modified version of Vim, the person making the changes
is responsible for making those changes available.  The GPL also
requires it in this situation, since the person you gave the modified
version may request a copy of the sources.  Quote:

"You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code."

If you provide the source code with the modified program, but the
receiver loses it, he may ask for it again.  It's not clear to me if the
GPL requires if the source code must still be available then.  Would be
hard to prove that you did supply the source code at all.  Anyway, this
quickly goes into an irrelevant direction.

> > - The person who did the changes doesn't know who still has a copy.
> >   That's unlikely to happen, since the maintainer apparently was able to
> >   locate the mofified copy.
> Except that it doesn't work like that.  The maintainer might, for
> example, send out a massive spam to the entire net and say "if you
> have made any changes, send them now".  

That is irrelevant, because everybody can ignore a message that isn't
personal.  Can't blame anybody who would not respond.

> > - The person who did the changes has died.  No idea what happens then,
> >   hopefully we will never encounter this situation.
> Why, because people don't die?  People die, go missing, vanish, close
> up shop, etc., all the time.  Sometimes computers even fail when huge
> buildings fall to the ground due to airliner impact.

This is becoming a bit rediculous...

> > I explicitly want to keep the person who makes the changes responsible
> > for being able to send me these changes.  I don't want end-users to
> > become responsible for this (they might not even know about the changes).
> As long as it is a requirement for *anyone* it's not DFSG-free software.

Well, this was discussed before and the Vim license was considered
DFSG-free software then.  We were only changing the precise wordings,
not the intention of the license, so this would still be the same.  You
better explain exactly why this license would make Vim not be DFSG-free
software and what has changed since the last time.

- Bram

GALAHAD: No look, really, this isn't nescess ...
PIGLET:  We must examine you.
GALAHAD: There's nothing wrong with ... that.
                 "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" PYTHON (MONTY) PICTURES LTD

 ///  Bram Moolenaar -- Bram@moolenaar.net -- http://www.moolenaar.net  \\\
(((   Creator of Vim -- http://vim.sf.net -- ftp://ftp.vim.org/pub/vim   )))
 \\\  Help me helping AIDS orphans in Uganda - http://iccf-holland.org  ///

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